Saturday, September 8, 2012 that another blue chip? A desire chip? Or was it relapse?

Let me assure you, I did not drink alcohol. It has been almost 45 months without a drink. Yet along the way I have toyed with other habits, ways of dealing, coping. Many times I make the right choice. I turn to the Lord, I text a friend, I get in the Word when I am feeling out of control or uneasy.

Then there are other choices. Like the few days that I took pills that I shouldn't have- I gave the pills away. Or when a friendship became too much of a distraction, but I fixed that.

Each time I struggled with my failure, my weakness. Why, if I knew the right things to do, did I still fall? Why was I tempted, yet again by Satan and his schemes?

Come to find out, I am human, STILL in need of a Savior and still here in this broken world. It is not going to get easier. I am going to get tripped up, even fall sometimes. It doesn't matter that I fall or even fail, what matters is how I deal with it. That I get back up, ask for and accept the Lord's forgiveness and learn from my mistakes.

That is what I did this week. I went to my meeting Thursday night, fully intending on getting a blue chip. I read the scriptures aloud during the meeting as another gal read the steps. I was teary eyed.

For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. Romans 7:18
Then the time came for chips. As I walked forward for my blue chip it was almost as hard as it was the first time I got a chip. I came back to my seat, turned the chip over and over in my hand and felt His peace. His love. His grace.

No coincidence at all- the lesson that night was on GRACE. It is a lesson I've heard before. With points that I've grown to love, to embrace in my daily life and as I work with others. Yet, I was hit afresh with two sentences on the power point slide:

Grace- getting what I don't deserve.
Mercy- not getting what I DO deserve.

And that my, friends, is truth, truth truth.

This morning I read Jesus Calling, the devotional book. Man, that book can speak directly to me. The lines that reached out to me today were- "Even if you wrongly choose..., I will not reject you. You can turn to Me at any point and I will help you crawl out of the mire of discouragement. I will infuse My strength into you moment by moment, giving you all that you need for this day."

Oh, thank you, sweet Jesus, for not giving up on me, time and time again. My heart so desires a life that is lived in obedience to you. And I will keep trying. I will stand up, in front of others and proclaim my faith in You and Your strength, not my own. I will also remember that as long as there is breath in me, I've still work to do here on this earth....and you aren't through with me yet....

My favorite lyrics of the moment:

Seems like all I could see was the struggle
Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering how long is this gonna last
Then You look at this prisoner and say to me "son
Stop fighting a fight it's already been won"

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I'm not who I used to be
I am redeemed, I'm redeemed

All my life I have been called unworthy
Named by the voice of my shame and regret
But when I hear You whisper, "Child lift up your head"
I remember, oh God, You're not done with me yet

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I'm not who I used to be

Because I don't have to be the old man inside of me
'Cause his day is long dead and gone
Because I've got a new name, a new life, I'm not the same
And a hope that will carry me home

Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave

~and there IS hope